It was only a matter of time before we featured one of our favourite local creatives in this spot, Michelle Leslie. It seems like everything graphic designer Michelle has a hand in turns to gold, with clients as varied as Mrs S café, Angela Higgins photographer, Black Kite Beverage Co, Perth Zoo, Iku Sushi and couples wanting unique wedding invitations. Let’s hear from the lovely lady herself!
Photo by Ilkka Kadala.
Official job title: Creative director and head honcho at Michelle Leslie Design.
Tell us about your career background and how you’ve come to where you are now:
It’s hard to believe I’ve been a designer for 11 years now; it’s gone so fast. After high school I studied multimedia design at Central Tafe because of my love of animation and an interest in designing for web. After graduating, I worked as a web designer for a few years and learned a lot about digital design and writing code.
I love designing for web but I found I was often working for a brand once their visual identity was already resolved and I was keen to be involved from the beginning, where I could have more influence on the look and feel.
I quit my job in 2007, traveled around Europe for a couple of months for a burst of inspiration and then enrolled at Curtin to study illustration and design for print. Around this time, I met Leah and Angela from Studio Bomba (through our good friend Dan McKeating) and started working with them soon after. That was an amazing experience and I learnt so much from them about brand strategy, illustration and designing for print.
I took a leap of faith and started my own consultancy a couple of years ago and have been very fortunate to work on some lovely projects with some great clients and collaborators.
You work from the amazing creative space that is Studio Bomba! What’s that like?
After being involved with Studio Bomba for so long, it really does feel like my second home. It’s also nice to have a base for our print-making collective The Johnny Two Tone Club. I love being part of such a supportive and collaborative workspace. The coffee bar doesn’t hurt either.
What’s on your desk?
I have my computer, phone, cup of random drawing implements, sketchbook and my trusty weekly planner notepad (which I couldn’t live without).
Photo by Jessica Shaver.
What’s your favourite order from the café?
A flat white and Mr Drummond’s home made crumpets with pear and vanilla jam.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
All over the place, blogs, books, cartoons, my friends. Sometimes inspiration comes from the strangest places and I find it tends to strike when I least expect it.
What are you currently working on?
It’s pretty varied at the moment. I’m designing a website for gardening guru Sabrina Hahn, branding for a Pilates studio, an online shop for a local shoe designer, a website for a school and new menus for Iku Sushi. There are also a couple of exciting collaborations in the works that I’m really excited about.
Branding and coming soon page for local shoe designer Jakii.
If you weren’t doing the job you’re doing, where do you think you’d be?
I’ve always been interested in what makes people tick, so maybe something in psychology.
Any advice for those trying to enter the creative community in Perth?
Stay in touch with people you study with (a lot of creative opportunities have come my way through design school friends), find a mentor and be easy to work with.
Iku Sushi interior.
Michelle’s windows for Iku Sushi as part of the 140Art project. Photo by Jean-Paul Horre.
Which local artists/musicians/creatives do you admire?
Perth designers I admire include Studio Lost & Found, Nude Design Studio, Block Branding, Chil3 and Organ Studio and local musicians I love include White Lanterns, Abbe May, Cross-eyed Cats and Simone & Girlfunkle.
Illustration for Jimmy Cricket’s website banner.
What do you love about Perth?
I love that most of my friends and family are here.
And I love seeing so many new studios, bars, shops and festivals popping up all over the place at the moment. I really hope they continue to get the support from the Perth community they need to flourish and be successful.
What does Perth need?
For people to continue to visit and support all the new studios, bars, shops and festivals so they can be here for many years to come.
Illustrations for Perth Zoo’s new entrance. Architectural design by Chindarsi Architects.Photo by Jessica Shaver.
Where’s your favourite place to grab a drink after work?
My favourite place to grab a drink any time is Devilles.
Best live music venue?
I have a lot of great memories from gigs I’ve seen at the Belvoir Amphitheatre. I’m looking forward to seeing The National there in February.
Wedding invitation suite for Tamara and Chris. Letterpress printing by Duncan Roylance at Mitchell & Dent.
Photo by Jessica Shaver.
Floreat dog beach. I went there a lot with my sister and her dogs last summer and had loads of fun.
Up north or down south?
I’ve seen a lot of down south so I think it’s time I did some exploring up north. Michelle
You can visit Michelle’s website at michelleleslie.com.au and check out some more of her wonderful work.